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New Covid cases in LA jump for first time in weeks, up to 5,000 a day – Deadline

The number of new daily Covid-19 cases in Los Angeles County had been declining for two weeks. From an all-time high of 21,411 on December 16, new cases settled between 13,000 and 15,000. While deaths remained woefully high, there was some hope that a plateau in cases meant that the virus transmission had slowed. Friday’s data may shatter that hope.

The LA County Department of Public Health reported 20,414 newly recorded infections on Friday. It was a huge jump, more than 5,000 cases above Thursday’s daily count of 15,129.

Friday’s peak may be linked to an Internet Spectrum outage last week. County health officials noted that part of the recent increase in deaths was due to a “backlog associated with spectrum blackout and delays in notification of holidays.” Officials in their statement on Friday said the outage was impacting data again. But only a higher number of deaths have been attributed to the outage, and not to the drastically higher number of new cases.

United States Covid-19 update: Nation records 20 million cases in early 2021, with more than 346,000 deaths

The jump could also be the first indication of the dreaded Christmas wave after many Angelenos gathered and traveled for the holidays. If so, and this is just the beginning, Los Angeles is about to have a horrible January. Another frightening possibility is that the new, much more infectious variant of the virus, discovered in San Diego on Wednesday, is loose in Los Angeles. The numbers for the next few days will tell the story.

Meanwhile, the number of new daily deaths linked to the virus remains extremely high. LA County reported 200 deaths from the pandemic on Friday. Even though 15% is a backlog, the remaining deaths are still equal to the number of new deaths from all causes that the county suffers in a typical day.

This is after three consecutive record days of lives lost against Covid-19. Thursday’s tally was 290 more deaths, although some of them were, again, due to a backlog in reports of the internet outage and the holiday weekend.

The county set a new record for pandemic-related hospitalizations on Friday, with 7,613 patients affected at facilities in Los Angeles. That’s 200 more patients than Thursday. According to LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, more than half of the patients hospitalized in the region had Covid-19. She said two-thirds of those who need intensive care are infected.

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